Tuesday, August 28, 2012

New Year's Eve on DVD

I never thought New Year's Eve would be good. For one, it's a movie that immediately dates itself by taking place on the eve of 2012. Who's going to want to ever watch it again? Two, another movie, Valentine's Day, was supposedly similar with its large cast of characters but rather inappropriate, from what I heard. I never saw it and didn't want to. I was afraid New Year's Eve would be on the inappropriate side, being a romantic comedy, and I probably wouldn't ever have watched it had it not been for my curiosity in its cast, a huge ensemble of people I'm vaguely familiar with including in no particular order Zac Efron, Cary Elwes, Robert De Niro, Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Ashton Kutcher, Katherine Heigl, Hilary Swank, and Lea Michele, just to name a few. Finally, did you ever hear anything about New Year's Eve after it came out? I think, if anything, I heard it was a flop.

I'm afraid all that most movies like this have going for them are their casts. The movie is often a one-deal show that draws an opening weekend crowd just because of the names in it but doesn't have enough substance to stand on its own two feet. It makes sense. You get all these big names, all far too famous to get anything but the major roles in a story. So, instead of creating a single story with a lot of characters, you have to create a mishmash of interconnected stories, each with its own two or three stars.

And to an extent, that's exactly what New Year's Eve is: a mishmash. But it's a surprisingly clean one with some unexpectedly heartfelt, tear-jerker stories: real-life snapshots of lives on the cusp of starting anew. It starts out a little disjointed, and not all the stories intersect, which might have been better. But for about ten different plots going on at once, it works thematically and emotionally. As a storyteller myself, I actually kind of liked it. Because each story's normal two-hour movie slot is drastically shortened to fit alongside everyone else's, the stories have to stay focused and emotionally engaging. That's what works for the movie.

I may never see it again and it will likely disappear off the grid, but it wasn't a waste of time or even a bore. When the movie season is slow (like October's scare fest), remember this one. Three stars.


  1. I don't remember hearing much about this movie, either. It seems most holidays aside from Christmas and Halloween don't make for interesting movies. I could be wrong, though.

    1. Most Christmas movies aren't that interesting either. A few, but not most.


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